Covid-19 Variants A Cause For Concern, But Pharma Companies, Scientists Confident Of Vaccines’ Potential

Although the rise of Covid-19 variants in the United States had led to concerns, scientists and pharmaceutical companies expressed confidence of vaccines evolving with them, according to senior White House adviser Andy Slavitt, who spoke to CNN.

Slavitt who spoke to CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Thursday said he spoke to all the pharmaceutical companies and scientists, and they had the same thing to say that even if these vaccines diminished a little bit, the companies would be able to continually update them. Slavitt, was responsible for the Covid response.

Covid-19 Variants A Cause For Concern, But Pharma Companies, Scientists Confident Of Vaccines’ Potential

According to data form Johns Hopkins University, the US had witnessed a 26% decline in new cases from this time last week, in a continuing trend of the steepest decline in new cases since the start of the pandemic.

However, variants many of which appeared to be more transmissible had been spreading with over 1,500 cases reported in the US, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Covid-19 Variants A Cause For Concern, But Pharma Companies, Scientists Confident Of Vaccines’ Potential

Lowering Covid-19 cases was the best thing the US could do to improve chances that vaccines would continue working, according to experts.

According to the CDC, officials had been scrambling to administer shots quickly to get ahead of further mutations, with about 57.7 million doses administered so far across the country.

New research in Israel and Canada had shown that only a single dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine offered significant protection against the virus. However, according to Slavitt that did not mean that people should avoid the second shot.

He said it was not known how long or how durable that benefit was without the booster. He added it was not known how effective it was against variants.

Vaccination delays due to harsh winter hitting the US meant that many people would need to work double time to get back on track, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

He said it had been slowed down and in some places was going to a grinding halt. Fauci was speaking in an interview with MSNBC on Thursday.

Delays in vaccine deliveries and distribution had been reported from several states and providers were forced to cancel or reschedule appointments for vaccinations. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) over 2,000 vaccine sites were in areas suffering from power outages.

On the upside, none of the vaccines that required storage at specific temperatures had been spoiled this week as per the knowledge of officials, Slavitt said.

Meanwhile, Houston which had been hit by both power outages and water problems in the storm, planned to resume giving vaccinations Saturday and Sunday, according to a release by the city’s health department on Thursday.

Many states that had taken early hits in the storms, particularly Texas, had to cancel vaccination appointments due power outages and dangerous road conditions.

However, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday that the state government not had to make any cancellations yet.

He added there were disruptions, but they had got almost all their doses for the week. He added no cancellations were anticipated but time would tell.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization was set to launch a new declaration Friday, over vaccine equity, Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a news briefing Thursday.

While vulnerable groups and small island states with less bargaining power than larger countries, would be the focus of the declaration, inequity had already been a factor in the US, according to commentators.

State-level data for the 34 states that collected demographic information on Covid-19, as of Feb-16 was analyzed by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

The data revealed the in most of those states, Black and Hispanic people had received smaller shares of vaccinations compared to their shares of cases, deaths and percentage of the population, the researchers noted while for most states the opposite was true for White people. 

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